Updated: Dec 4, 2019
The Top 5 Reasons We Are Supposed to Believe a Successful Movement has Failed
The #metoo movement sprung up, seemingly overnight, spurred by revelations surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of women. The true surprise isn’t the depraved behavior and abuse of power he exhibited. The real surprise is that it mattered, and that there were real world consequences. The #metoo movement combined with an awakening sense of feminine empowerment created something brand new in the world, and it didn't stop with Weinstein. Actors such as Kevin Spacey, Politicians on both sides of the aisle, news personalities, CEOs…the ripple expanded to surprising areas. The #metoo movement was the leading edge of this ripple, and it has made many people very uncomfortable. Naturally there has been a pushback, an attempt to swing the pendulum back. This pushback includes the following:
1) “The #metoo movement is focused on wallowing in victimhood. Women should keep quiet, move past their abuse, and find their peace.”
This is an astonishing thing to say. The #metoo movement did the impossible. It unseated these men, and others, wrecked their careers, and destroyed the companies that were complicit in their abuse. Weinstein’s excesses came to light, and because women everywhere stepped up and made it clear that this is a huge problem in our society, the repercussions were earth-shaking. To try and frame this as a weakness by women who should crawl back into their holes requires a high commitment to denying the reality of their results.
2) “The #metoo movement does not adequately address [fill in the blank for another societal ill] and is thus fatally flawed.”
I’ve seen this argument used against many efforts to create change in the world, and this movement is no exception. The assumption is that the person speaking can do it better. They are holding that a movement that has actually created amazing, real-world results should stand down so that this all-knowing person can do it right. The only real answer to that is to shut up and either create something better, or dive in and create change within the movement. Throwing rocks from the sidelines is small and petty.
3) “The #metoo movement bypasses due process, and is a frightening departure from the rule of law.”
No, what is frightening is how completely bankrupt the “rule of law” has been. This movement bypassed the existing, completely ineffective criminal justice system with an exhibition of the power of vulnerability. Vulnerability took down men who were literally invulnerable, and as a result changed the world. Vulnerable shares absorbed the patriarchal power because the reality is that it is more powerful. It sidestepped all the existing systems, including a corrupt, inept and ineffectual legal system, and did what was literally considered impossible. This is a paradigm shift right before our eyes. The solution is not to shut down the #metoo movement – it is to fix the fundamentally flawed and useless system that shames and blames women who attempt to use it, in behalf of the male abusers.
4) “These women are just self-serving liars.”
As if that’s a thing. As if there are big bucks to be made by coming out and publicly accusing a former employer. As if book deals and movie deals and employment offers flow to all these women. This sort of accusation is a clear attempt to shame, one of the most commonly used techniques in trying to shut down uncomfortable accusations.
5) “The #metoo movement is being abused to attack innocent people.”
While there IS a potential for abuse, perpetuating actual abuse in the name of preventing future possible abuse is a weak move. The lid got blown off a dirty, nasty system, and there is plenty of ugliness coming to light as a result. The movement was aided by some of the best journalism of the decade, and even included The Washington Post catching pranksters trying to fake an accusation so they could discredit the movement. The potential for abuse exists, though, and this movement must evolve accordingly. This argument points back to point #2, and tossing the entire movement rather than harnessing the power to create much needed change is a cop-out. There is LOTS of room for discussion around this issue, and for creating something better.
Men such as Weinstein and Spacey existed in a paradigm where they were literally all-powerful, able to manipulate and use those around them, treating others as objects, with no possible consequences. They were impregnable to the criminal justice system, popular media, their peers, and most especially, the women and children they victimized. There are so many things that seem to never change in our world, so when we see something that is actually creating real, no shit, results, maybe we don’t quite know how to respond. It’s time we lowered the barriers to change, stop resisting good things when they happen, and begin working with positive forces rather than against them in order to put the stamp of our genius, our passion, our creativity on the future we leave for our children.